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5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge (Day 5)


Welcome to Day 5 of the 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge! I’m so excited that so many of you committed to join me in this journey. If you missed the first posts in this series, read Day 1 hereDay 2 here, Day 3 here and Day 4 here.

It’s the final day of this 5-Day series! Thanks so much for joining me on this journey and sharing your encouraging comments along the way. You’ve blessed and inspired me through what you’ve shared.

I want to close out this series by sharing two final techniques for setting up your day for success — both which have made a major difference in my own life:

Lay Out Clothes

One of the habits I implemented a few years ago that has made a huge difference in my mornings is choosing clothes and laying them out the night before. Not only does this eliminate decision fatigue in the morning and make it so simple to get dressed, but it also guarantees I have clean clothes to wear. {Maybe you can relate to that panic moment when you realize you need to be out the door in 20 minutes and the shirt you were planning to wear is not in your closet but at the bottom of the dirty clothes pile??}

The other added benefit of laying out my clothes the night before is that it makes it much easier for me to dress for the day I want to have. I lay out my clothes all the way down to jewelry so that it makes it so easy in the morning to just grab the stack of clothes and get dressed. No decisions to make at all!

I’ve found that simplifying my wardrobe makes it much easier to quickly choose outfits that I love and that make me feel great. (Read more about how I keep my wardrobe simple and ways I’ve figured out what colors/styles work best for me here.)

If you need some encouragement to simplify your wardrobe, I highly recommend watching this video on the 10-item wardrobe. I also love these Rules for a Minimalist Wardrobe and Andrea’s post on her Mix & Match Wardrobe.

Organizing Young Kids' Clothes

If you want to really make your mornings easier, have your kids lay out their clothes at night, too. (When my girls were little, I used a Day of the Week Closet Organizer and just picked out all their outfits for the week when I put the laundry away. This made it so easy for them to get dressed in the mornings!)

Wind Down Earlier

I’ve found that it takes me about an hour to wind down and go to sleep, so if I want to go to bed by 9:30 p.m., I need to start winding down around 8:30 p.m. In the past, I would start thinking about going to bed right around the time I actually wanted to be in bed going to sleep… which meant that I almost always stayed up later than I should have!

I’ve been very intentional about making winding down earlier a priority this year and it’s made such a difference. One of my favorite things to do is to wind down with some sort of pampering (see below). This helps me relax and shut my brain off so I can fall into a deep sleep.

Some of My Favorite Before-Bed Pampering Rituals:

Peace & Calming Essential Oils

Another strategy that has been so helpful is for me take email off of my phone. I used to instinctively check my email right before bed and feel like I needed to deal with it right away, which always prevented me from winding down and relaxing because my brain wouldn’t shut down properly.

Now I try to shut down the computer mid to late afternoon and not turn it back on until the following day after breakfast. This not only helps my brain take a rest from business stuff for me to be offline for at least 12 to 15 hours each day, but it also makes it much easier for me to shut off my sometimes hyper-active brain at night so I can fall asleep!

And finally, one of my most effective techniques for winding down at night is to take few minutes to write down everything I need to do that day or feel like I need to do. Getting it all out of my head onto paper is such a helpful exercise. (Read this post here for all the details on how I do this and how I create a prioritized to-do list for the next day.)

Note: If you struggle with sleep, be sure to read my post on How to Get More Sleep and my post on How to Sleep Restfully for lots of practical ideas and tips.

Day 5 Project

1. Follow your Morning Routine and check in with your accountability partner to let them know how it’s going. Leave a comment to let us know how you’re doing. (And if you’ve not created your Morning Routine yet, be sure to go here and follow the steps and then leave a comment on this post letting us know your plan!)

2. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow and pick one idea to implement to wind down earlier or help you go to bed more relaxed. Tell us in the comments what idea you chose and how it went for you!

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  • Kariane says:

    In addition to the wind down things you mentioned (I also LOVE Peace & Calming, and I make my own bath salts), I also find writing in my journal for a few minutes helps me to release pent up feelings and relax my mind before sleeping.

  • Kacy says:

    I love these! I was cracking up at the clothes you want to wear at the bottom of the laundry pile! That is so me! I’m racing out the door and the shirt I want is always in the pile all wrinkled. Then I have to make the decision – can I get away with it being this wrinkled? Will my body heat dewrinklfy this before I see another human being? Haha! Funny thing is I have my daughter follow a great night time routine but for some reason my lazy/rebellion kicks in and I don’t stick with things at night. I do turn my phone off about an hour before I go to bed but I do need better night time, sleep hygiene. Thanks for the tips Hon! Have a great 4th with the fam!

  • Dionna says:

    I have done the same thing of having the kids pick out the clothes for the week while putting away laundry. I know 100% that our morning goes more smoothly when the kids and I have all our outfits picked out. My almost 4 year old wants to wear dresses every day, she has WAY to many clothes and I am taking things out to save my for my cousin’s little girl or to consign. I love those clothing organizers for kids! Here is my proposed schedule for summer week days:
    5:00 am Get up, wash Face, get coffee
    5:05-5:10 am Feed dogs, let them out
    5:10 am Quiet time
    5:30 am Shower, get dressed, make up
    5:50 am Get kids up and dressed
    6:05 am Breakfast, put lunches on lunch box, bags in car
    6:15 am Read morning devotional to kids
    6:25 am Shoes on, ready to go

    I love the ideas for winding down at night! I have the tea, Badger Balm, and an oil diffuser. I think writing things down and being more intentional will help lead to a better nights sleep.

  • Megan says:

    A few years ago I read that President Obama only has blue and black suits in his closest because he wants to reduce decision fatigue. Laying out clothes is a great alternative – if it’s good enough for MSM and the leader of the free world, it’s good enough for me!

  • K. Ann Guinn says:

    Well, now that the holiday is over, I will attempt to stick to my morning routine this week. (I will obviously have to work at getting to bed earlier, as it’s a little late…)

    I just had some “sleep” tea, which has seemed quite effective. I also got a Himalayan salt lamp for my birthday recently, which also possibly has a positive affect on sleep. I have an oil diffuser (relatively new), but ran out of lavender (which I also just drop on the corners of my pillow sometimes). I have some essential oil blends that I love for stress/headaches and muscle soreness.

    I just ordered the Badger product for sore muscles; thanks for the recommendation of the brand.

    I need to work on getting off of my computer earlier. I love to read in bed; whether I can only make it five minutes, or have time and “awakeness” for a half hour or so, it makes all the difference in putting my mind at ease.

    I totally agree about putting out clothes the night before; especially for us women, who sometimes have trouble making outfit decisions. I do this regularly if I need to get out the door in the morning.

    Here’s to sweet sleep and neatly laid out clothes!

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